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Child pornography laws in Australia state that all sexualised depictions of children under the age of 18 (or who appear to be under that age) are illegal and it has banned photographs of women with an A breast cup size even in their late 20s as "encouraging pedophilia", leading to a marked increase in the breast size of women depicted in Australian magazines.[1] Furthermore, there is a zero-tolerance policy in place, which covers purely fictional children as well as real children.[2]

Japanese anime

In August 2007, an Australian was sentenced to pay an AUD $9,000 fine for attempting to import eight DVDs of Japanese anime found to contain pornographic depictions of children and 14 found to contain depictions of sexual violence. No images of real children were involved. "Customs National Manager Investigations, Richard Janeczko, said that it was important to understand that even cartoons or drawings such as those depicted in anime were prohibited if they contained offensive sexual content."[3]

No cartoon depictions

Also, in December 2008, a New South Wales Supreme Court judge, Justice Michael Adams, ruled to uphold a magistrate's decision that a pornographic cartoon parodying characters on The Simpsons (Bart & Lisa) was child pornography, because "[i]t follows that a fictional cartoon character, even one which departs from recognizable human forms in some significant respects, may nevertheless be the depiction of a person within the meaning of the Act."[4][5]

Against a black market for child abuse

The plaintiff, Alan John McEwan, was fined $3000 Aus ($2000 US), which was a leniency as under the law, a maximum penalty of 10 years can be applied for possession of this form of cartoon pornography. Judge Adams explained the law was appropriate because cartoons could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children". In reference to legal interpretation he commented "A cartoon character might well constitute the depiction of such a person".[6] A BBC reporter summarized the judge's decision: "he decided that the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people".[7]

International precedent

This case has attracted international attention, alongside attention to more local cases, with author Neil Gaiman commenting on it: "I suspect the Judge might have just Template:Sic granted human rights to cartoon characters. I think it's nonsensical in every way that it could possibly be nonsensical."[8]

See also


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